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Stuttgart to Neuschwastein

Arriving in Stuttgart. Where is the next best place to stay to see the castle. Then heading to Barcelona. I seemed to have picked a bad place to start. Help

Posted by
6798 posts

Well, let's save you some trouble. N'stein isn't a castle, at least not a real castle. It's a late 19th century knock-off, built as a private residence but barely even lived in, that isn't worth 45 minutes for the tour, much less the time and $ you'd shell out to get there. Go see some real castles with 100s of years of history closer to Stuttgart. http://www.burg-hohenzollern.com/startpage.html http://www.stuttgart-tourist.de/en/castles-palaces

Posted by
19170 posts

"N'stein isn't a castle, at least not a real castle. It's a late 19th century knock-off, built as a private residence" And Burg Hohenzollern is a middle 19th century knock-off, also built as a private residence. The two knock-offs were built within about 20 years of each other. Hohenzollern was an apartment for Kaiser Wilhelm I; Neuschwanstein for Lugwig. I've toured both, and although I enjoyed seeing Hohenzollern, of the two, Neuschwanstein is the more impressive, at least on the inside. At Neuschwanstein you can get an English language tour; at Hohenzollern the tour was in German with a paper translation you could read. Buses run hourly from the Bahnhof in Fuessen to Hohenschwangau; there is one bus/day from Hechingen Bhf to Hohenzollern and one bus back.

Posted by
6798 posts

Hohenzollern has a history that goes back centuries and centuries. Sure, it's been rebuilt a couple of times. But if you're willing to travel 150 miles in the wrong direction to see N'stein, then then H'zollern makes a perfectly good alternative - it's only 40 mi. south of Stuttgart. My understanding was that the OP was having trouble with the distance she'd have to travel. It's not a matter of "hatred" - it's a matter of practicality. Too often underinformed visitors believe N'stein is such a valuable experience that they must torque their whole trip around a visit. If they're going to Füssen for other reasons anyway, fine, have a look, but there just isn't much to N'stein to justify a huge detour. Stuttgart and Baden-Württemberg have, oh, several hundred sights, including castles and palaces, that are closer in and more worthwhile than N'stein.

Posted by
2193 posts

Except that tourists aren't just in Füssen for other reasons...the castles are the only reason people go there. And Hohenschwangau was built on earlier versions going all the way back to the 12th century, so it should fit your criteria for a worthwhile castle experience.

Posted by
19170 posts

"I seemed to have picked a bad place to start." I would certainly describe flying into Stuttgart when you really want to head for Barcelona as "picking a bad place to start". Shades of "Wrong Way" Corrigan in the 30s. Actually, a better castle, in my opinion, is the other Hohenzollern castle, in Sigmaringen. Although it is more of a palace than a castle, except for some of the living quarters being restored after a fire in the late 1800s, it's pretty much unchanged since it was built, some of it dating back 1000 years.

Posted by
5 posts

We have 3 weeks. Original thought was N'stein castle and Barvaria (skipping Munich done) on husband's list. We booked when BA was having a 2 for 1 points sale. All other German destinations booked. So,,,,,We will fly home from Barcelona and will fill in the time from there except must be in Barcelona in the middle of the trip and then leave again maybe to the south (Granada etc)or Morocco. Yep were tourists.
I really appreciate all the thoughts and discussion you have put forth here. Deirdre

Posted by
3696 posts

Well.... whether it is a good or bad place to start...its Europe, so I think it's all good. As for the castle controversy...its impressive and if you go home without seeing it and will regret missing it, then you need to go.
Millions of tourists have seen and enjoyed it, authentic or not (me included)

Posted by
12040 posts

By the same "Neuschwanstein isn't an authentic medieval castle" logic, I guess we should shun the houses of Parliament in London, because they're not authentic medieval meeting houses, only 19th century neo-Gothic knock-offs. Neuschwanstein is, however, one of the most extreme examples of 19th century German Romantic nationalism. It is just as much a unique product of its age as Burg Eltz and Marksburg are of theirs. The Wagner-inspired decor is a fascinating external projection of the weird psyche of Ludwig II (although if you know nothing about Wagner's operas, the symbolism probably won't register). To answer the original question, by train, the trip takes almost 4 hours each way. Trains leave hourly from Stuttgart to Augsburg. From there, catch a regional train to Füssen. From Füssen, it's a quick bus ride to the castles. It probably isn't a very feasible daytrip from Stuttgart unless you drive. Traffic around Stuttgart, though, is some of the worst in Germany.

Posted by
6798 posts

James asks, "Why do folks want to see the Eiffel Tower? On one hand you (we, RS folks, whomever fits the bill) criticize North Americans for sitting on their ass and not going outside of the continent, yet now we criticize them for wanting to see something that you and UNESCO don't view as worthy?" No one is criticizing anyone, James. Chill. Your Eiffel Tower example may help you understand my point better. Would you go far out of your way just to see the Eiffel Tower if it were located not in Paris but 2.5 hours from Paris somewhere in the countryside? I wouldn't recommend or plan such a trip. You might stop by for a look if you were in the area for some other reason. But the Disney tie-in and the abundance of glossy N'stein travel photos leads North American travelers, most with little knowledge of Germany, to the faulty conclusion that N'stein is some sort of must-see on a brief visit to Germany. Maybe UNESCO is wrong to omit N'stein from its list, but you might wonder why. It is the pre-eminent authority in such matters. My point is simply that its notoriety is grossly disproportionate to its importance and its value as a tourist site, and before you pencil in a visit to N'stein, you should understand what it is and what it isn't (it's not a castle, for starters) and read up on other options to make some informed choices. Germany has hundreds and hundreds of palaces and castles to choose from. The UNESCO WH list isn't a bad place to start. But individuals are all different. If you love theme parks, maybe Europa Park is for you. I have a thing for small breweries. If Ludwig is a distant relative, or if Disney is your life, N'stein may be much higher on your list than mine.

Posted by
3050 posts

To actually help Deirdre with her question: If seeing Neuschwanstein is important to you, you're probably best off staying overnight in Fussen, because it would be an exhausting, very long day trip by train. It would be easier by car if you rented one for the day. But like others have said, it's a long way to go, if you'd like to experience a little bit of German culture and castles, the recommendations others have given you in Baden-Wurttemberg are valuable. Heidelberg with it's castle isn't too far away, either. There is also a beautiful, "mini-Versailles"-like baroque place in Ludwigsburg. Stuttgart has cheap flights to Barcelona on GermanWings if you book in advance (more expensive in summer, though). which makes more sense than taking the train.

Posted by
813 posts

Deirdre, on the off chance you haven't given up on your original question..........from Stuttgart you can get to Fuessen no problem. You should stay in Stuttgart two days, though, and see some of the really neat things around. It isn't a bad place to start at all. Stuttgart is a vibrant, modern, working city with lots of good history. Even if you aren't into cars, the Porsche and Mercedes museums are truly fascinating. Also Ludwigsburg palace in the town of Ludwigsburg is incredible, a great tour and the gardens are beautiful. You can actually imagine the people living there. On your way to Fuessen stop in Ulm and visit the cathedral there. It's worth the stop.

Posted by
6798 posts

"It is just as much a unique product of its age as Burg Eltz and Marksburg are of theirs...." Tom: There's no question that N'stein is unusual. I mean, if you'd never heard of the place and were driving by, you'd surely be drawn in. It's stunning. It's weird. It was clearly put there for show. If you fall asleep every night to music from Tristan und Isolde, you are going to want tickets to this place for sure. But it is equally odd and puzzling that, given N'stein's state of relative unimportance in history, culture and art, so many people travel thousands of miles to Europe to see this place. I would bet that for North Americans, it's one of the top 3 must-see sights. But why? I don't think it's our inherent interest in Wagner and Ludwig. UNESCO hasn't seen fit to name it a World Culture Heritage Site. More than 30 such places in Germany are significant enough to make their list and include palaces, castles, and cathedrals that receive far fewer visitors. So N'stein's popularity isn't due to the consensus of the scholarly. Truth is, N'stein, though it may be worth a look, stands undeservedly at the very top of our travel lists only because Walt Disney chose to exploit it in his films and theme parks, and because tourism to Germany can be driven by this connection that Americans (and others) have to Disney. On a longer visit, N'stein might make sense if you're in the area and if you don't mind heavy souvenir hawking and a crowded tour in unintelligible English. But savvy visitors will not spend 2 of their 4 scheduled days in Germany getting to and from N'stein for a 35-min. tour. They'll visit places like Marksburg, Wartburg, Eltz and Burghausen, NOT because they're "unique", but because they provide a view of TYPICAL human exixtence in centuries past.

Posted by
2484 posts

Stay in either Füssen or Hohenschwangau or Schwangau. There are several hotels, B&B's and other places to stay in these 3 towns. Many of the places in the last two towns will have a view from your room. If you are using trains, the bus goes to the ticket office area.

Posted by
2193 posts

Yeah, I can't imagine being one of the 49 million tourists visiting NYC each year and not going to Times Square on a first visit. Personally, I would rather be beaten than spend five more seconds in that tourist hell hole, but it's a world-famous landmark that shouldn't be missed when you're there as a tourist. And if someone else wants to go there, who am I to say they shouldn't bother because it is all touristy, even if I think there are significantly better and more authentic neighborhoods to visit. We all have opinions, but tourists should go wherever they want to go. A million people a year visiting the castles can't all be wrong. People have been going there since 1886...you should, too. BTW, you should probably just wear whatever you want to wear, too.

Posted by
12040 posts

"stands undeservedly at the very top of our travel lists only because Walt Disney chose to exploit it in his films and theme parks, and because tourism to Germany can be driven by this connection that Americans (and others) have to Disney." Or maybe because it's a beautiful castle in a magnificent setting? And it's all over every travel guide for Germany? And as a well-known landmark, it's used everywhere as a visual short-hand to represent Germany? Just wondering... But I do agree... for what the OP has proposed, visiting Neuschwanstein probably isn't making the best use of her time.

Posted by
337 posts

"... It is just as much a unique product of its age ..." Yes, but one has to be clear about which age. The term "castle" is usually reserved for military fortifications before the age of widespread gunpowder use, at a time when straight walls and high towers weren't destroyed in siege cannons first volleys . Castles were replaced by artillery armed and dug in star forts in the 16th century. The Palace Neuschwanstein was build in the 19th century by steam machinery and parts of it have a steel beam core just like its contemporary the Home Insurance Building in Chicago.
It's the royal Bavarian equivalent of Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch. Palace Neuschwanstein is a worthwhile place to visit, just for its aesthetic or exotic appeal, or for its interesting history. But calling it a castle conjures up false impressions. Just like calling the Parliament buildings in London a "medieval council chamber" would.